A word to parents of college-bound kids

Written by Lisa Tyson
Published on July 27, 2021

I will be honest—this is a hard one for me to write. 

Why? Because it is just a little bit too real life. It is easy to write about seasons past or experiences with my children. I also love to write about what God is teaching me as a mom or what I see the Lord teaching my children. 

But I really do not want to write about this—it is not controversial or political or polarizing. It isn’t thought provoking or mind blowing either. It is just so “where I am” at this moment, and I want to pretend it is not happening. 

Except that it is. And I cannot stop it—even if I might like to stand still for a minute or 500. I’ve already done this once. Sending the second one should be easier, right? Wrong

In one month, I will be taking another child to college. As in, leaving him there. By himself. Without me. Alone. A bunch of other little kids will be getting left there without their parents too—alone

Who does that? Who leaves their child somewhere to live by himself, take care of school stuff, and hang out with strangers? This is the kid who asked me if I expected him to remember to wear deodorant every day for the rest of his life! 

Yet, I am supposed to leave him there to do that, and more, without me? The simple answer—yes. 

Different faces of life stages

I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw a friend post something about her son who will be a freshman. She told him that she could not believe that he left for college “next month” and he responded with the number of days, hours, and minutes until his move in date! 

She probably knew it down to the minute, too—but for completely different reasons. Each excited second they count down to the day they leave is a second closer to the day that you leave them. 

You leave them there. And you do it on purpose. It is somewhat of a surreal experience. You see this person in front of you who looks like a young man or a young woman. 

But what your brain sees is the baby face you brought home from the hospital, the toddler face taking their first steps, the first day of Kindergarten face, the ten year old face on the sports field, the first school dance face—all the faces of every stage flashing through your mind reminding you that this young adult in front of you is the same little person who you have poured out your heart and soul into preparing them for this moment. 

His perfect plan for college-bound kids

There is a palpable excitement in and around the dorm. There are also the looks exchanged between parents that is an unspoken “I know you’re getting ready to leave part of your heart here too.” 

There is a camaraderie between both groups—the ones staying who cannot wait to start their college experience without their parents. Then there are the ones who want to fold just one more shirt, hang one more picture, and fluff one more pillow before leaving and saying “good-bye” (for now). 

We will miss him at the dinner table. I will wait for him to walk in the door only to remember he’s not coming home. I will wonder if he is making friends and good choices. 

My heart will skip a beat when I see his number come up on my phone and I will feel like a little kid on Christmas morning waiting for him to drive home for a visit. 

Above all, I will trust the One who loves him more than I ever could—which is mind blowing to me—because I don’t think anyone could love him more than his mom. 

Read this Psalm with your child’s name, and make it a prayer of thankfulness that the Lord started counting their days before even one of them came to be—this day, the one where you leave them at that place called college, is all part of his perfect plan. Besides, they don’t really need us anyway because they have him

You know when _______ sits down or stands up. You know _______ thoughts even when _______ is far away. You see _______ when _______ travels and when _______ rests at home. You know everything _______ does. You know what _______ is going to say even before _______ says it, LORD. You go before _______ and follow _______. You place your hand of blessing on _______ head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for _______, too great for _______ to understand!  _______ can never escape from your Spirit! _______ can never get away from your presence! If _______ goes up to heaven, you are there; if _______ goes down to the grave, [a] you are there. If _______ rides the wings of the morning, if _______ dwells by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide _______, and your strength will support _______. You saw _______ before _______ was born. Every day of _______ life was recorded in your book. 

Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. Psalm 139:1–10, 16 (NLT) 

So parents of college bound kids—here we go. We can do hard things. It is still okay to cry a little. Give yourself your moment, and then get excited about all of the life that God has planned for all of their days.


Looking for other resources on college-bound kids? Check out the articles below:

  1. 3 promises for your college bound child
  2. Independent dependents: The faith of your grown children
  3. Driving away
  4. Letting Go

Live perfectly imperfect

Get daily emails with practical and spiritual advice geared towards helping you set aside perfect and grow into the parent you want to be every day.

Lisa Tyson

My name is Lisa Tyson. I am a Baylor graduate, have been married to the only man I have ever loved for the past 24 years, and we have 3 perfectly imperfect children — 20 (rising Jr. at Texas Tech), 17 (rising Senior), and 12 (rising 7th grader). Our oldest two are boys and the youngest is a sweet and spicy girl. I run my own practice as an Educational Diagnostician working with school districts to identify and serve their bilingual students while my husband works in the Operations Department for our church. I speak Spanish fluency and I love to read and scrapbook. One of my many life verses is, “She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future” (Proverbs 31:25). I am far from an Insta-mazing wife and mom — we eat the same leftovers over and over, I forget every picture day, and I had to buy my middle child new socks and underwear when I packed all of his and sent them to college with his brother (in an effort to not forget anything). But one thing I do well is this: I remember that the Lord has lavished us with His grace and nothing that touches our family is by accident. So we press on and push through knowing that He has always been faithful — no matter what.

Read more about Lisa

You may also like…

Privacy Preference Center

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]